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Handling adults and babies

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Handling adults and babies

Post by Admin/arthur on Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:21 pm

How I handle baby sugar gliders and the parent suggies together. I personally don't like to scare the babies when they first smell me. I would rather they smell me or see me while being secure on mom. I carry them from day one out of pouch(oop) as a family as long as mom and dad are comfortable with me.


HANDLING ADULTS AND BABIES:
When we started breeding sugar gliders I wanted to be able to handle the babies and adults. To me it just made sense to have tame adults and the babies would be tamer. Instead of taking babies from the parents to hold to tame for us it is easier and less stressful to hold mom and babies. The babies don’t squawk when you take them from mom, the adults don’t crab and then the babies don’t crab as they have no fear of me because the parents don’t have any fear of me. I try to put myself in the sugar gliders shoes. How would you feel if your sister or brother came in your house at 3a.m. and took your baby or child and said something you couldn’t understand and left. I would think most mothers and dads would freak out! So why take the one day old joey away from mom to start bonding to it. Take mom and dad with you or at least mom and joeys to hold and love. Before babies were oop did you not hold mom and play with mom? If you did then why change now keep everything the same routine, play time with mom and babies if she wants to come out and play. I believe taking babies from mom to hold is actually breaking the trust between human and glider. If she trusts you as her family then you can hold mom and babies together and still bond to the babies. I have found out that mom will actually help the babies to bond to you as mom makes a noise when babies are moving and while she is eating her treat as I hold them together. The mom is comfortable so the babies are relaxed in your hands on mom. The babies will actually start smelling you and will eventually crawl on you with no fear. Then after a few weeks mom will make that che che noise, shake, and actually leave the babies in my hand as she crawls off of me and walks or runs back to her nest box, but mom and dad still keep an eye and listen, and talk to the babies. Then I know it is time that I can hold babies and walk off without mom as she has given me permission by leaving babies in my care. But I always hold moms and babies first until she leaves them in my hands. I do this from first day oop and with some moms even take shopping before babies are out of pouch(oop). The moms and dads that are my go guys, go with me even on first day of babies oop, to me it is natural to take the whole family and treat them no different just because they have babies. I always try to keep their feed time, play time or handling time around the same time and I don’t check in on babies any different than what was normal before the babies arrived. Personally I think that if you treat the sugar gliders any different after babies are oop the parents may think something is wrong. Like what are you doing in my box three times a day you never did this before, why are you taking my baby what is wrong with it. With some animals if the colony treats one certain animal different there usually is something wrong with it and they shun it or kill it. I wouldn’t want to take the chance of my adult sugar glider thinking there is something wrong with their babies because I am treating the parents differently. It is an honor to be part of their family and to be trusted by such small creatures, why break that trust when a baby arrives. Do everything the same as usual and mom and dad will love you for it as mine do with me.
GUIDELINES OR STEPS FOR HANDLING BABIES AND MOMS:
First you have to get mom use to being held and holding her on her back and/or holding her on your chest. You start teaching them to trust before they have babies in the pouch. This is hard because I believe they are exposed while laying on their back. I give a chunk of large treat that they have to use at least one hand if not two hands to hold on to food. To eat the treat they have to trust you enough in your hands to let go. At first it might be for only a few seconds but with time can work up to a few minutes. Re-assure glider as you teach them to trust you to keep them from falling out of your hands. I always praise and pet even if they only do it and flip right back over. I also take my gliders with me at this point as they should be extremely bonded to you.
I take both mom and dad out with me on short trips after carrying and waking up and holding at home. I also always reward after I have them on their back and after they go back in their pouch or t-shirt pouch. Another thing I do is as bonding with young adult glider I hold them cupped lightly against my chest. The moms with babies if at first don’t feel secure on their backs I cup them against my chest where they can hold on with back two feet and one front foot, until they trust me enough to let go in my hands. It usually takes a few times with mom and baby to realize I will keep her from falling and holding against chest while eating treat and looking at me and chirping to me/or the babies is a good start to laying on back. Not all gliders feel that secure to lay on back, but they still let me hold them with babies on my chest, which gets the baby smelling me or recognizing me as part of the family. It takes a lot of practice and patience and holding your adult sugar glider for her to trust you with her babies. You have to be sure mom and dad trust(bonded) to you as you don’t want to stress mom. Another words if you can wake them up with no crabbing and can pick them up(in daylight hours), and can hold them, even if only for a few minutes then you should be able to do it with babies in the pouch and when babies come out of the pouch. The trust should already be there in holding and carrying in pouch(I would carry around house before going out so they are very comfortable with being in pouch), then doing it with the babies should be like second nature and normal behavior between you and your sugar gliders. If you don’t have this type of behavior(bond) with your glider then I would start now or way before they have their babies. Don’t be nervous as you hold mom and babies(even if you are), be calm, re-assure them and definitely reward with TREATS! When you first try to pick mom and babies up I would move slowly and talk to her so she can see your intentions aren’t threatening to her. Then slowly just reach under her and the babies if no crabbing or struggling occurs.(this is where picking up and holding your glider really is necessary to be able to hold her ) and bring her and babies up to your chest cupped lightly against your chest(I always keep one hand under mom and babies for her to sit on and to feel secure). At first holding her and her being relaxed is building trust between you and her, as I hold her against chest I offer her a favorite treat. If she won’t take it and eat it she is not secure in you holding them yet. After a minute or two I would either put her back or in pouch(depending on what you have been doing with mom and dad before babies arrived). Remember as you put her back give mom and dad a treat and let dad smell your hand as recognition smell that is probably on the babies from holding mom and babies. As you hold her more times she should eventually eat the treat as she is cupped lightly against chest. You have to get her relaxed against chest before you try to get her to lay on her back. Always talk to her and re-assure her and you can have dad with you or on you at same time(dad’s sometimes get in the way at first). Also as holding on chest you can gently pet her on the head. Sometimes at first mom and babies will climb up to my shoulder and sit, this is ok and I let mom sit for a few seconds and sometimes give treat, but then I pick up and bring down on my chest to hold. If she climbs away then I pick up and put back in nest and try later. She should come around with practice and patience(if she wasn’t held as young glider and is use to being on shoulder may be why she climbs up there for security). Before they have babies in pouch you should try and get mom(in daylight hours) to sit against chest and you cupping her for balance and start feeding her a treat as you hold her for security. Sometimes young ones or adults won’t eat the treat until I put my other hand over top of them to block light or to feel more secure, then I usually hear crunching and chirping as they enjoy their treat in my hands. I don’t mean to contain the glider (as it should be bonded already) it is the hand over them as security, and if they want to look out my fingers are usually easy to nudge through or they can look up at me always and if they look up I talk quietly or softly to them and make recognition noise. See http://bonding book.

EXAMPLE HOW MOMS HELP BONDING:
Kay Kay an extremely bonded sugar glider comes running to the front of cage every night and every morning to jump out on me without any hesitation. She also is a sqwaggler dancer as she marks me as belonging to her or in her family group. She is one of those gliders that does not like to be held unless I put my hand over her in the daytime if I don’t she will carry(babies usually under her) babies and go under my shirt and on to my shoulder to eat her treat or go in the t-shirt bonding shirt. The point to this is when her babies are about 4-5weeks oop and start to come out of nest box to investigate the new world at night(I hold her and new babies in daylight hours for bonding) . When I go into cage and they are all up before I can step in there Kay Kay is already on my arm going up to my shoulder and back(everywhere) if I put my arm out to the babies they come up very slowly and will put one foot on me as they are unsure at night and first time. They also as I put hand up to them sometimes smell it or jump side to side if I move too quickly. I talk to babies and make “noise” and if mom is watching I have seen her run down my arm to the babies and nudge them and make a little sound and then mom runs up my arm. If I keep my arm there the baby comes up and follows mom up on me and will then run all over me like mom does and even sometimes come to my ear and nip on it or start tasting(nips) on arm or on my hand. I even held the baby up to a wooden ladder hanging in the cage and the baby taste nipped the rope and the wood on the toy. Also PurPur and Madison will come to the door at feeding time and get a bite first out of the dish before I can put it down and the baby has watched her/him do this and is now doing the same thing, coming to the door to get a bite out of the dish. This is another example of friendly learned behavior.

The babies learn their behavior from the parents whether it is good or bad(scared) behavior. This is why I have bonded adult breeders(some more bonded than others) so that hopefully the babies never start out life with the fear of the human hand.
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Art Gibbons
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Admin/arthur
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